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'Rogue traders will not be tolerated': Warning after cowboy builder conned £85,000 out of customers

PUBLISHED: 16:45 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 09 May 2019

Andrew Jay. Pic submitted.

Andrew Jay. Pic submitted.

Archant

A cowboy builder who conned customers out of £85,000 will serve as a warning to rogue builders in Suffolk.

Andrew Jay, of Brook Close, Carlton Colville, was jailed for four years when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court last week.

Now, police and trading standards have warned similar offenders will not be tolerated in the county.

Jay admitted eight offences of fraud from between May 2016 and August 2017 at homes across Lowestoft, including Essex Road, Marbella Green, Church Road and Corton Road, as well as Carlton Square in Carlton Colville and Seafield Road North in Caister.

At one of the properties in Lowestoft, between March 2017 and November 2017, Jay accepted a payment of £2,600 to build a wall which he failed to complete.

In the same year, between February 2017 and July 2017, Jay accepted £7,500 to build a driveway at another Lowestoft home, which he also failed to finish.

Jay, who ran AGH Builders, also accepted £54,000 from a third Lowestoft homeowner in September 2017.

Among Jay's victims were a widow whose home was left uninhabitable and a man whose wife was recovering from an operation for cancer.

Suffolk Trading Standards, along with officers from Suffolk Police, were alerted to Jay after a number of members of the public came forward with complaints.

Temporary sargeant Lee Cudmore said: "A number of people trusted Jay to carry out the work on their homes and were severely let down by him.

"Some of the work was started and never finished, while other work was accepted but never started at all.

"With the help of Suffolk Trading Standards, we were able to investigate the complaints about Jay's business practice once again and we hope this sentence will provide some peace of mind to Jay's victims."

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The offences put Jay in breach of a 16 month prison sentence, suspended for two years, imposed at Ipswich Crown Court in April 2017 for three offences of breaching a criminal behaviour order.

He also admitted theft and breaching an anti-social behaviour order made by Norwich Crown Court in 2014, when he was jailed for 28 month after taking thousands of pounds from customers and failing to complete all or some of the work.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act is due to take place in June.

Were you affected by Jay's actions? Email Reece.Hanson@archant.co.uk or call 01502 525 835.

Advice from Trading Standards

Suffolk Trading Standards have urged anyone hiring a trader to avoid cold callers turning up unexpectedly, and to get recommendations or use a Trust mark-registered firm.

Traders should also provide written contact details and homeowners should consider getting written quotes from at least three traders.

Consumer law also allows a seven day cooling-off period to change your mind about services offered.

Part of the cost should also be withheld until the repair job has been satisfactorily completed.

Councillor Richard Rout, cabinet member for environment and public protection at Suffolk County Council, said: "This sentence should serve as a warning to others that rogue traders will not be tolerated in Suffolk.

"The investigation is a great example of partnership between Suffolk Trading Standards and Suffolk Police, who are both committed to ensuring individuals such as Andrew Jay are brought before the criminal courts.

"If anyone is concerned that a rogue trader may be at their door, or has visited the property of a friend or neighbour, they should report it immediately to the police or Trading Standards."

Any unscrupulous traders should be reported to the police or the National Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454040506.

Were you affected by Jay's actions? Email Reece.Hanson@archant.co.uk or call 01502 525 835.

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